Having your Windows computer unexpectedly lock itself can be frustrating. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can prevent your Windows machine from auto-locking.
If you need a quick solution to stop your Windows PC from locking, here are two simple things you can try:
- Disable automatic screen locking – Go to Settings > Personalization > Lock screen and turn off the “Screen times out after” setting. This will disable auto-locking entirely.
- Extend the auto-lock delay – In the same Lock screen settings, extend the timeframe before auto-lock occurs, like 1 hour or more.
These quick fixes stop your Windows from locking as frequently, though your PC will still lock after periods of inactivity. For more comprehensive solutions, read on.
Disable Automatic Locking in Windows 10
For those running Windows 10, you can completely disable automatic locking with a few simple steps:
- Open the Start menu and click on the Settings cog icon.
- Click on Accounts.
- On the left pane, click Sign-in options.
- Under the “Require sign-in” section, toggle the switch for “When PC wakes up from sleep” to Off.
This will fully disable auto-locking on your Windows 10 PC when it wakes from sleep or after inactivity. Your system will stay unlocked until you manually lock it.
Change Power Settings
Alternatively, you can prevent auto-locking by adjusting your Power & sleep settings:
- Go to Settings > System > Power & sleep.
- Click Additional power settings.
- In the Power Options window, select Change plan settings for your current power plan.
- Change Turn off the display and Put the computer to sleep to Never.
This will override the default inactivity timeouts that trigger auto-locking. Your computer will now only lock when you manually lock it.
Disable Automatic Locking in Windows 8.1
For Windows 8.1 users, you can disable auto-locking in much the same way:
- Open the Charms bar by moving your mouse to the top or bottom right corner of the screen.
- Click Settings > Change PC settings > PC and devices > Lock screen.
- Adjust the time for Screen times out after to Never.
This will prevent your Windows 8.1 machine from locking after periods of inactivity. Follow similar steps to change Power & sleep settings if needed.
Group Policy Editor
You can also use the Local Group Policy Editor to turn off auto-locking:
- Type “gpedit.msc” in the Run command box and hit Enter.
- Navigate to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options.
- Find the settings for “Interactive logon” and change both options to Disabled.
This will override the default auto-lock settings in Windows. Note that gpedit.msc may not be available in some versions of Windows.
Stop Automatic Locking in Windows 7
If you’re still on Windows 7, use either of these methods to disable auto-locking:
Screen Saver Settings
- Go to Control Panel > Personalization > Change screen saver.
- Change Wait time to Never turn off screen saver.
- Uncheck On resume, display logon screen.
Group Policy Settings
- Open the Start menu and type “gpedit.msc” to open Group Policy Editor.
- Go to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Local Policies > Security Options.
- Set Interactive logon: Machine inactivity limit to 0.
- Set Interactive logon: Machine invocation limit to 0.
Either of these tweaks will fully disable auto-locking on a Windows 7 computer.
How to Stop Automatic Locking on Earlier Windows
For those on much older Windows XP, Vista, or earlier versions, the steps are similar:
- Go to Control Panel > Personalization > Screen Saver > Change time to Never for screen saver.
- Uncheck On resume, display logon screen under Advanced settings.
- Go to Display Properties > Screen Saver > Power tab and set Turn off monitor to Never.
- On the Advanced tab, disable Prompt for password when computer resumes from standby.
Depending on your specific version, the steps may vary slightly. But these basic tweaks will work to stop auto-locking on older Windows releases.
Additional Ways to Disable Locking
Here are a few other methods you can use if the above steps don’t work:
- Registry edit – Set the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System\DisableLockWorkstationregistry key to 1 to disable auto-locking system-wide.
- Group policies – Use Local Group Policy Editor or Domain GPOs to configure the interactive logon settings as described earlier.
- Scripts – Run scripts or batch files on startup that set DisplayRequiredTime to 0 to disable auto-locking.
For portable devices like laptops, also check settings for closing the lid or power buttons, as these may trigger locking behavior.
Customize Auto-Lock Options
Instead of completely disabling auto-locking, you can also customize when and how it occurs in Windows:
- Only lock when switching users – Prevent locking on sleep/screen timeout but allow it for user switches.
- Require password after sleep – Only require a password after waking from sleep, not general inactivity.
- Shorter lock timeout – Keep auto-lock but reduce the wait times before it occurs.
Play with the different options in your Power & sleep and Screensaver settings to find a balance that works for you.
Automatic locking can be a nuisance if it activates too frequently on your Windows PC. Luckily, there are a variety of straightforward ways to disable or adjust auto-locking on any version of Windows.
Some universal options include changing screensaver, power and sleep settings, using Group Policy Editor, or tweaking registry values. Just be cautious before disabling lock screens completely, as this reduces security on public systems.
With the right settings, you can minimize inconvenient auto-locking while keeping your computer secure when needed. Just find the right balance for your personal needs.